From San Diego Gay & Lesbian News comes an article focusing on the need for mentoring programs to service Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth. The article distills tips for how current organizations can help meet this need:
• Adopting internal policies and practices: Youth mentoring programs can adopt a number of policies and practices to ensure that their programs are accessible and welcoming to LGBTQ youth, as well as LGBTQ mentors. Such policies and practices include:
1. Sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and confidentiality policies;
2. Inclusion of LGBTQ identity-affirming language on websites and other materials;
3. Staff trainings focused on “best practices” for mentoring LGBTQ youth;
4. Outreach practices targeting LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ-affirming mentors.
• Establishing LGBTQ-focused youth mentoring programs. Government and foundations can encourage development of private programs for mentoring LGBTQ youth.
• Implementing non-discrimination requirements in youth mentoring program grants: To further the objectives of youth mentoring programs, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the Department of Justice has the authority to issue guidance prohibiting grantees from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to designate LGBTQ youth as an underserved population, and to specifically fund programs for LGBTQ youth.
• Enforcing existing legal protections: Several existing laws protect LGBTQ people to some extent, including Title VII, Title IX, constitutional provisions, and state non-discrimination laws.
• Adopting new legal protections: Laws explicitly prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination can be passed at the federal, state, and local levels.